This holiday season the game fights back when Jumanji: The Next Level hits the big screen on December 13, 2019.
Jumanji: The Next Level reunites the four teenagers who survived the trials of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as they return home to Brantford, New Hampshire from their respective colleges for the holiday break. Now college students, they’re trying to navigate the next level in their individual lives. After Spencer is compelled to go back into the game, Martha, Fridge and Bethany must team up and re-enter the world of Jumanji on a daring rescue mission to bring Spencer home.
But the game is broken, and is fighting back. Everything they know about Jumanji is about to change, as they discover that there’s more to it than just a jungle; it’s bigger, more dangerous, and has more thrilling obstacles to overcome. This means that anything can happen, so in addition to big action, incredible visual effects, and epic locations, you should also expect the unexpected.
Also back in play are the avatar team of Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Jack Black as Dr. Shelly Oberon, Kevin Hart as Mouse Finbar, Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse, and Nick Jonas as Seaplane, plus new players Danny Glover as Milo, Danny DeVito as Grandpa Eddie, and Awkwafina as a new avatar, Ming. However, things aren’t always what they appear to be, and they must rely on their strengths to navigate the changes to the game to get out alive and bring Spencer home safely before it’s game over for them all.
Columbia Pictures presents a Matt Tolmach / Seven Bucks / Detective Agency production. A film by Jake Kasdan, Jumanji: The Next Level starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, with Danny Glover and Danny DeVito. Music Supervision by Manish Raval, Tom Wolfe. Music by Henry Jackman. Costume Designer Louise Mingenbach. Edited by Mark Helfrich, ACE, Steve Edwards, Tara Timpone, ACE. Production Designer Bill Brzeski. Director of Photography Gyula Pados, HSC. Executive Producers David Householter, Melvin Mar, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, William Teitler, Ted Field, Mike Weber. Based on the book Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. Written by Jake Kasdan & Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg. Produced by Matt Tolmach, Jake Kasdan, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia. Directed by Jake Kasdan. This film has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
CHANGING THE GAME
Following the global success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the filmmakers knew they had an opportunity to continue telling the stories of these characters. “The first movie was about what it means to understand who you are, and to throw your arms around everything you are capable of,” says producer Matt Tolmach, “The thing about life is that we change all the time. And so has the game. The game is upping the challenge, and the characters are changing.”
“The opportunity to come back to this idea, to these characters, both the kids in the real world and their avatars in the game, was irresistible to me,” says director Jake Kasdan. “But the great gift of this story is that we could bring everybody back, get the team back together, but also change what everyone was doing. And that makes it all new again. It allowed us to reapply the big idea, but in a really different way.”
The high school teens are now college students, trying to make their way in the world. They reunite over holiday break and have to navigate this new phase. “Relationships are now stronger than the last film. The characters now have history and success together,” says producer Hiram Garcia. “The previous movie delivered an imaginary world that was exciting, but along with that adventure, audiences found a lot of heart. Playing into the world of wish fulfillment, and how we ultimately have one life to live and we should live that life to the best of our ability, resonated cross culturally, and fortunately here we are now…making a sequel that we hope will be more spectacular in every way.”
“There was something really powerful to me about the idea of expanding the world to include characters at different phases in their lives. I love the kids and I love telling their stories, continuing their stories in this movie,” says Kasdan. “But the addition of Eddie and Milo felt like discovering a new room in your house. It was totally exciting to me. And Danny and Danny made it a dream come true.”
Tolmach, a longtime fan of the original Jumanji film, as well as Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s fantasy book that inspired the franchise, explains what drives the character development and storytelling, which connects with audiences in such a personal way: “A lot of us don’t even realize what we are capable of. The game gives you a glimpse at your powers that should be embraced. The thing about Jumanji is that the game understands you. The game knows your strengths and weaknesses, and it challenges you to be the best version of yourself.”
This time around, they knew they’d need to show more of the world of Jumanji. Just as the characters are out exploring the larger world outside the game, inside the game, we get to explore new locales, including arid sand dunes, treacherous canyons, and icy mountains—each with its own challenges for the gang to overcome, making for truly spectacular action sequences guaranteed to thrill audiences.
According to the film’s star and producer, Dwayne Johnson, they knew how high expectations were from the outset: “The scope and the scale of the film is really epic; when it’s Jumanji, it commands that. We went into this knowing that the pressure was on, and we’ve got to raise the bar. We’ve got to level up. So we brought in the best filmmakers, and the best in class with all our department heads and our crew. Also, what’s really cool about Jumanji is we have no constraints, because it’s a videogame.”
Nobody knows how to deliver a high score on this game better than director, co-writer, and producer, Jake Kasdan, who, “is the heart and soul of the Jumanji adventure and franchise,” according to Tolmach. “Jake was the one who challenged all of us to make a movie that lived up to what we had accomplished before, but to also go even further. Through storytelling, new characters, new animals, our avatars have to figure out how to navigate the game and life.”
Says Kasdan, “what would you learn about yourself if you could spend a day in someone else’s skin? That’s the big conceit of these movies obviously. But it’s an entirely different set of answers when you apply it to these new characters, who are looking back on the lives they’ve led. And it’s just as relevant, I think. Just because you’re older, doesn’t mean you stop discovering things about yourself.”
While the previous film allowed our characters to leave the world they knew behind and become someone else – an adventurer, a doctor, or a badass — this film has them coming to terms with who they are and how the game has changed them.
“This film is bringing things to the next level, to coin the phrase of our title, in a lot of ways. We go to the next level with our action sequences that are just really spectacular action sequences, our set pieces. What we’ve established is that there are multiple Jumanji universes, so we are going to the snow-capped mountains. We are in the desert dunes. We are back in the jungle. We are really all over the place in the best way,” enthuses actor/producer, Dwayne Johnson. “If you’re lucky enough to have a movie as successful as the first Jumanji, you’ve got to raise the bar. You’ve got to raise your game. You’ve got to level up. So, I think we did – and not only that, but we also introduced new characters in the movie which I think audiences will really respond to this time around.”
Jumanji is a film franchise like no other. You get to see huge stars come in and completely play against type in a persona you’ve never seen them portray before. That unpredictability allows for special moments you won’t find elsewhere. “One of the things that’s happening in the movie is the characters are not necessarily showing up in the same avatars as they were in the first movie. And there’s just an inherent level of comedy in that. I was accustomed to being in this absurd body before, but it became the normal and now I’m in this body? The idea of Jumanji is it places you in the game in an avatar in order to show you something about yourself, and that can be very entertaining,” concludes Tolmach.
ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Returning are the Core Four from the previous film—Spencer, Bethany, Fridge, and Martha—who are now in college and reunite back in Brantford over the holiday break. We soon discover that everyone is dealing with this new phase differently; some are thriving, and some are having a tougher time adjusting to life after conquering the game.
Spencer and Martha have tried that classic long distance relationship, but are now in an awkward place, because Martha is really embracing the newfound self-confidence she discovered in the previous film. This causes Spencer to push her away and avoid her, creating emotional distance between them.
Spencer has been having a tough time in NYC; things are not going right for him at school, he’s not happy, and he’s unsure of the status of his relationship with Martha. Spencer returns home to discover that his grandfather is now living with his mom in their house while he recovers from a hip surgery. In fact, Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) has moved into his old room, making them to be roommates in very close quarters.
Bethany has really evolved from the self-absorbed, popular girl she used to be; she’s tapped into her sense of altruism and she’s been traveling the world, helping people, finding fulfillment in being of service to others. She’s experienced the world from a new perspective and it’s shaped the way she sees life now.
Fridge has gone from the Big Man on Campus at high school to the much bigger playing field of college football. Getting used to a new place, a new team – a new world – has got to be a challenge, but becoming adapted to a new world is nothing Fridge hasn’t been through before.
THE AVATARS ARE BACK IN PLAY
The squad of in-game avatars are all back, as well—with some twists. Because the game was smashed at the end of the previous film, it’s not functioning normally, which means anything can happen.
Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), the intrepid archeological adventurer and muscle-bound action hero is back in the game, complete with his laundry list of strengths: fearlessness, climbing, speed, boomerang, and his trademark smoldering intensity. However, this time, he serves as the avatar for Eddie (Danny DeVito), Spencer’s grandfather. In the previous film, he got to play a neurotic teenager, and now he gets to play the opposite end of the spectrum. The juxtaposition of Bravestone’s heroic abilities, and Dwayne Johnson’s physicality inhabited by a cantankerous elderly man recovering from hip surgery, results in a slew of comedic moments. Especially hilarious is seeing Bravestone inhabited by an irritable guy from Asbury Park, New Jersey.
“Capturing the essence and nuances of Danny DeVito was the best time as an actor. I had a chance to study him, going back and watching a lot of his old movies and TV shows, all the way back to Taxi. His work is just so brilliant,” says Dwayne Johnson. “There’s just a wit and a way about him. I was able to spend time with Danny and embody him as best I could. And he was very gracious. It was a blast becoming Danny DeVito.”
SHELDON “SHELLY” OBERON
Jack Black returns to deliver more comic relief as Dr. Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, the “curvy genius” whose strengths lay in cartography, archeology, and paleontology. While his weaknesses — poor endurance, and aversions to heat, sun, and sand — make for serious laughs, especially in the desert sequences, his newly acquired strength of geometry proves critical to the equation in a key moment.
In the previous film, he was an avatar for Bethany, which made for hilarity as image-conscious teen queen found herself inhabiting the body of, as she put it, “an overweight, middle-aged man.” This time, Dr. Oberon serves as the avatar for Fridge, which brings fresh laughs, as the hulking athlete inhabits a body with considerably more physical limitations than he is used to. Fridge’s frustration with being put into the Oberon avatar and his constant outbursts lead to serious laughs, as Black brings his comedy A-Game, regardless of the environment he’s in, or who he’s inhabited by.
Black was excited to return for another round in the game. “I was excited to get the gang back together,” says Black. “You know, it’s chemistry. That’s one of the biggest parts of a film, and Jake has an eye for chemistry. He knew to put all of us together and add this person and that person and mix it in, and it’s just fun, man. When it’s the right chemistry, you can feel it, you know? And I definitely feel it on the set. I’m looking around going, ‘oh sh*t, we are a team. We are gonna bring it!’”
As Black sees it, being back in the game doesn’t mean the characters are just playing around. “Well, as you know, the game of Jumanji is not just for entertainment. There’s always some personal growth that goes down along the way because in many ways, Jumanji’s journey is life’s journey. And, I guess the characters had a little more growing up to do,” he explains, waxing a bit philosophical – which is perfectly in character, given Dr. Oberon’s intellectual tendencies.
Once again, badass bombshell and martial arts master Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) is Martha’s avatar. Her existing strengths include karate, t’ai chi, and aikido, as well as her impressive dance fighting skills. This time around, she adds nunchucks to her strengths list, while retaining her sole weakness: venom.
This athletic “Killer of Men” finds herself taking on a more significant role within the group of switched up avatar pairings. In the previous film, Ruby helped Martha discover her inner strength and power. “Martha’s come a long way since the last movie. She’s incredibly intelligent, but still very bookish and quiet and socially awkward. Now, she’s in the avatar that she knows how to use, and quite quickly, she realizes that she’s the most capable of everyone and she becomes the leader of the gang, helping them through the game,” explains Gillan.
Stepping into Ruby’s boots once again forces Martha even further out of her comfort zone. “Martha has become a different person. She’s going to college, she has this whole new cool group of friends, a new haircut, a piercing in her nose, and she has a new nickname. So she’s kind of become this other person she doesn’t feel totally comfortable in the skin of yet, so she feels slightly like a fraud. Like she’s playing this part of somebody else, this cool college girl,” says Gillan. “When she steps back into the game, she’s evolved from the last movie, but her journey, particularly, is about finding her way back to herself and who she truly is. And I think that’s why the game put her in the same avatar – to remind her of who she is.”
Martha is the first one to volunteer to go back into the game to rescue Spencer. As Gillan explains it, “Martha and Spencer have a lot of unfinished business. They have gone off to college and their lives have become quite separate and they are now officially on a break when they first re-enter the game. They both really want to rediscover each other, but no one knows who’s gonna make the first move, and if the other one even wants that.“
“Karen playing Martha/Ruby ends up being the anchor of the movie for a long stretch in a way that I think people won’t expect. With Spencer missing and displaced, it sort of falls to Martha to lead the team through a large section of the movie. And she stepped into that role so brilliantly. I just love what she does in the movie,” says co-writer and director, Jake Kasdan.
“I think that this film is largely wish fulfillment for everybody who watches it,” says Gillan. “I think we’ve all experienced wanting to be in someone else’s existence and to know what that feels like. I think being in the body of somebody else, you discover a little about yourself. You also have this license to kind of do all of these crazy adventurous things that you would never normally do. I’m so excited for audiences to see all of these actors play completely different characters. I’m so fond of Martha and to play the awkward teenage girl is something that comes a little too naturally to me.“
Diminutive zoologist and weapons valet, Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart) is back sporting his trademark red bandana and huge backpack of weapons. In this level of the game, his new skill of linguistics proves especially helpful in getting the gang over some serious humps. Finbar’s weaknesses include a lack of speed, inferior strength, and a penchant for cake. This time, he becomes an avatar for Eddie’s estranged friend and former business partner, Milo (Danny Glover).
Kevin Hart’s trademark rapid-fire style of comedic delivery is replaced by the meandering, lackadaisical narrative style of Milo, resulting in major laughs as he embodies Danny Glover’s mannerisms and speech cadence. His zoological explanations of various animals provide comedic footnotes throughout the story, even if he is constantly bewildered as to how he knows this information. He doesn’t grasp that he’s been dropped into a video game, prompting him to continually ask questions, such (“Did I die and turn into a small, muscular Boy Scout?”) and is constantly misunderstanding the circumstances of their predicament.
“You see Mouse Finbar take on the persona of an older gentleman, with me being Danny Glover. The older version of Danny Glover in movies just makes me laugh because he’s so calm. Everything he says is just happy. I thought that could be a very funny place to play with. Like that older man that’s a little more at ease, because I’m very ‘Aahhh!’ all the time,” says Hart of crafting his performance.
“The idea of coming up with a character for Kevin that just completely changes up the energy that you’re used to seeing from him seemed like a great comedy opportunity. He’s so loose and funny, and we have such an expectation for what he does, because he has such a fully-formed comedy persona,” says co-writer and director, Jake Kasdan. “What I figured out in the first movie is he’s a phenomenal actor and he can change his moves much more than people expect. To watch him play this gentle, very slow-talking, wise older guy, seemed like it would be an unusual joke, but if we could land it, it would be brilliantly funny. And Kevin, I think, is just inspired in the movie, and it was really fun doing that with them.”
Bethany is back in the game, too, though in a most unexpected way. When she realizes the others have re-entered the game, she goes to Alex to implore him to go back in with her on the rescue mission. Building on the special connection they formed in the first film, they partner up like nobody could have predicted; Bethany’s new avatar is a majestic black stallion, and Seaplane is holding the reins. They are both champing at the bit to find the others and race to rescue Spencer.
JEFFERSON “SEAPLANE” MCDONOUGH
Also returning is Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough (Nick Jonas), the dashing pilot who helped them on their previous quest as an avatar for Alex, a young man who had been stuck in Jumanji since 1996 before escaping with the teens in the previous film.
“Bethany is left out of the game and she’s desperate to help everyone that went in, but she doesn’t really have anyone to turn to who’s gone through a similar experience -except for Alex. He spent 20 years in the game and he knows it better than anyone.
So when Bethany turns to him he knows he’s got to help out,” says Colin Hanks, who reprises his role as Alex. Explains co-writer and director, Jake Kasdan, “This time, he has to come back and save the people who saved him the first time.”
“The first film, we were able to get lightning in a bottle, and I feel like we have got a similar situation the second time around,” says Jonas. “Jake just has this way of bringing out the best performance in everybody. It’s so great to be back.”
Marin Hinkle returns as Spencer’s mom, Janice. “There wasn’t even part of me that dreamed that I would be able to be asked back, so when I actually got the call, it was like the best Christmas present you could ever get,” says Hinkle. “The idea that my character gets to reappear and reconnect with her son when he’s a little bit older and you get to sort of dive in a little bit more to who he is.” Says Hinkle, “Then they’ve added the extraordinary new character of my father, played by Danny DeVito. I have loved that man from the beginning of time. He acts so beautifully; he’s one of our true, extraordinary character actors. The idea that I get to actually do scenes with him, it’s a dream.”
“The storyline with DeVito and Glover is so heartfelt. These two exquisite gentleman who are both pained by where their lives are at are brought together again in this film and have a rejuvenation. It’s wonderful to watch.” Continues Hinkle, “This film isn’t really just about watching the superstars. It’s actually about family, aging, and love. This film is your imagination at work. The possibilities are endless.”
Rhys Darby returns as the NPC (non-player character), Nigel, who explains the game rules to our avatars, whether he is flying a plane or commandeering a dog sled. “In the world of Jumanji, which is a game, Nigel is simply there as the field guide. He’s probably the most important man, really, because, you see, he takes the others and tells them what their adventure is, and really gets the mission going,” explains Darby.
“The cast has all these big names, who are pretty funny people! As you could imagine, it’s a bit of a laugh riot on set. We’ve worked with each other numerous times, and there’s no one that feels out of place. It’s kind of a magic box of mayhem. It was great to be back on deck again and caught in my loop,” says Darby.
EDDIE AND MILO
A new dynamic duo of Dannys are in the mix: comedy legend Danny DeVito plays Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie, who finds himself inhabiting the avatar of Bravestone, while Danny Glover plays Milo, Eddie’s estranged friend and former business partner, inhabiting the Mouse Finbar avatar.
Eddie and Milo are forced to work through their issues in the world of Jumanji after they unexpectedly get sucked into the game, too. The two Dannys deliver a powerful one-two comedy punch, as they bicker and work toward mending the broken fences of their relationship, all while navigating the adventures of Jumanji in the much more able bodies of their avatars. “We got the two Dannys – Danny DeVito and Danny Glover — legends, both of them — and, Dwayne, and Kevin as their avatars, inhabiting those two old men. There’s so much comedy, so much humor,” observes Jack Black.
“That may be one of my favorite things about this movie is Dwayne doing a full Danny DeVito voice and accent,” says Karen Gillan. “The same with Kevin playing Milo. In the last movie he had a very distinctive quality, and in this movie, it’s completely different. It’s a slow, old man kind of way of talking. Much deeper, raspier. It’s just really cool to see everybody flexing their acting muscles in this action-comedy.”
“Eddie is Spencer’s grandfather, and he’s getting on in years a little bit, but more so his body is starting to betray him in ways that are frustrating him to no end. And I think a lot of us have people in our lives like that. I’ve had people in my life like that that were sort of touchstones, you know, strong guy who just can’t believe the indignity of the fact that his body won’t do what he thinks it should be doing. And to put a guy like that with all of the strength of character that DeVito brings into the body of the strongest man in the world who suddenly finds himself able to do all these things, seemed like a great, kinda irresistible idea,” enthuses co-writer and director, Jake Kasdan. “To have Dwayne Johnson playing this kind of grump just seemed like something you’ve never seen him do. For the most positive man on Earth to be playing this angry dude just felt like a comedy opportunity that would be sort of irresistible. Luckily, he agreed!”
The newest avatar is the mysterious Ming, played by Awkwafina. While her weakness is pollen, her strengths are nothing to sneeze at; they include cat burglary,
pick-pocketing, and safe cracking, which may prove useful in the series of challenges she’ll face as the world of Jumanji proves to be bigger and more dangerous than ever.
“Awkwafina’s a powerful performer. Rap artist, comedienne, actress…she’s a multi-hyphenate, so I was very excited when I found out that we had snagged her to be in the movie. I knew that she was gonna take it to another level, and she has,” exclaims Jack Black. “She fit just like a glove on this project. She’s got sass and style and zest – the girl’s got magic! We all just jelled right out of the gate and doing scenes with her has been special.”
“I think that the message of Jumanji and the fun of it appeals to people of every age. When we look at superhero movies we see someone who obviously is flawed but has just some kind of insane power. Whereas everyone in Jumanji, they are normal people who become heroes in the game, and I think that resonates with anyone, across any culture. Bravery, courage, facing and understanding your flaws. Those are universal concepts and so old or young, I think that you really feel something when you see these characters,” says Awkwafina.
JURGEN THE BRUTAL
The new villain in this round of the game is Jurgen The Brutal (Rory McCann), a vicious conqueror who has descended from his mountain fortress to pillage the Avian Province. Worse yet, he has stolen the legendary Falcon Jewel, which ensures the fertility of Jumanji, hiding it away in darkness, away from the sun, causing the land to fall into drought and desolation.
Audiences worldwide came to know Glasgow-born actor Rory McCann as “The Hound” from Game of Thrones. Says producer Matt Tolmach, “our villain Jurgen is a terrifying, huge man who lives in a castle fortress, high on a mountain, that’s super-hard to get to. We needed someone strong and imposing to play the role. Rory checked all of the boxes we needed.”
Says McCann, “Jurgen is the obstacle to get through to finish the game. He’s the biggest badass about. Big, nasty thing. I wouldn’t say there is anything nice about him. He obviously was never cuddled as a child.”
ABOUT THE DESIGN: EXPANDING THE JUMANJI UNIVERSE
“Before there was even a script, we were thinking, ‘What will be the places? What will be the animals, and how do we start to build those sequences very early?’ The ostriches and the dunes was one of our first ideas about action for this movie. That sequence was some of the first pages that we wrote, so we got a very early jump on starting to design and pre-vis those scenes as we started to figure out how that would work. We knew that that sequence would be best executed on a real location,” says Kasdan.
While the previous film took place primarily in the jungle, this time, co-writer/director, Jake Kasdan wanted to explore different areas of Jumanji, so he partnered with veteran production designer Bill Brzeski, whose work includes Aquaman, Iron Man 3, The Fate of the Furious, Furious 7, and The Hangover film series.
Kasdan and Brzeski met early on to discuss the feel of this film. “We had a great meeting in the very beginning. And he’s a storyteller. The scenery is important, but the success of this film was all about story, because people just loved the story,” explains Brzeski. “He wanted me to support the story with as much real scenery as we could put in front of him. So although there are visual effects in this movie, they’re not the bread and the butter of the Jumanji franchise. You need to be in some of these locations to really feel the reality of characters, so it doesn’t feel like a videogame. You still have to kind of ground it in this Jumanji reality. It’s a special place. It’s been created to help people solve their problems.”
Brzeski and his entire team were tasked with creating not only familiar spaces like Spencer’s family home and basement and the Christmas-time residential neighborhoods and interiors of Brantford, New Hampshire, but also the arid desert, an exotic desert marketplace called The Oasis, a treacherous series of rope bridges suspended over a deep ravine, and Jurgen The Brutal’s icy mountain fortress.
To do this, they took up residence at Atlanta, using five soundstages there in a constant rotation. For a few months prior to shooting, as well as the two months of principal photography, Brzeski’s team was continuously building sets, taking sets down, and then building new ones.
Spencer’s basement is one of the smaller sets built for the film, but it’s essential to the storytelling. “The basement of the house was really a lot of fun. That little set was just a little tiny space but what was in that basement was interesting and how we told that story of that family in their home,” says Brzeski. He and the art department created a lived-in, authentic basement, complete with old kick-knacks, clutter, and a workbench fully equipped with tools where Spencer attempts to repair the broken Jumanji game console, which he rescued after Fridge smashed it with a bowling ball at the end of the previous film.
For the real world sets, Brzeski and his team used practical locations, taking advantage of Atlanta’s neighborhoods and their various architectural styles to stand in for locations such as the busy streets of NYC, the quaint New England town’s main street area, and the local diner, for which they created a custom exterior and interior. Despite it being February, they recreated the festive holiday vibe by wrapping lampposts in twinkle lights, erecting a Christmas tree lot, with special effects supervisor J.D. Schwalm blanketing the locations with a white biodegradable paper product that is a dead match for real snow for authenticity.
CREATING THE OASIS
To create the desert town known as The Oasis, Brzeski and his team needed space to build it to scale; however, with no traditional back lot available, they had to explore other options. The perfect solution ended up being an old Kroger’s grocery warehouse, which had previously used to store their food awaiting distribution to its East Coast stores. They built an entire town in the enormous warehouse space to accommodate actors and cameras to capture the action sequence which occur there; it includes a town square, the Smokestack Bar, a tattoo parlor, a metal work shop, a butcher shop, and a bazaar with purveyors of spices, clothing, rugs, and more all peddling their wares. They even built a camel livery.
“There are usually a lot of digital effects to make them extended, but in this case, we decided just go for it and make it as tall and as big as we could so we could be mostly ‘in camera’, as Jake was hoping for. So it’s all there and the set works on its own. Danielle Berman who is my brilliant set decorator, made sure every little shop in town had a little character,” says Brzeski, explaining the importance of this attention to detail.
“It had to be kind of real and it’s based on actual Moroccan architecture. The Jewish quarters in Casablanca is what inspired us – what the shops would be, the butcher shop, how it really works. In some of the old cities and small towns in the Middle East, they still have those windy streets and that kind of stuff, so it’s actually a lot of for us to do.” Thanks to this amazing team of artists, when you see the Oasis set with its dirt streets, muted color palette, and incredible detail, you can almost smell the burning incense.
A WINTER FORTRESS
Another of the huge sets Brzeski and his team had to create on an Atlanta soundstage was the icy mountaintop fortress of Jurgen The Brutal, the film’s villain. While evoking a sort of castle motif, the team created a home for Jurgen and his horde on a scale grand enough to accommodate the towering warrior, who stands seven feet tall. Even more challenging, the set needed to be able to accommodate up to 200 people for certain scenes, as it’s the home base of the marauders, where they hang out and eat and have parties – an occasionally, epic brawls with intruders. To create the room, the design crew opted for big, heavy stone walls and columns to convey a hard, imposing space with a lack of warmth.
The fortress features a lot of basalt—a, fine-grained, igneous rock in shades of grey and black, which is formed from the cooling of molten lava—which lends a weathered, well-worn texture to the fortress interiors and columns, giving the impression that it’s grown up through the floor. Of course, since this is Hollywood, they aren’t using actual basalt; instead, the faux volcanic rock used for the fortress is all meticulously carved out of foam and plastic. “What we did is we made a mold of different kinds of blocks and we put them up here and then the rest was all done with plaster,” explains Brzeski. “I had probably the best plaster crew you will ever have in a movie here.”
A centerpiece of the fortress hall is Jurgen’s chair, which the design team crafted using sanded down railroad ties, raw blocks of wood, and faux fur to create a unique version of a modern motif lounge chair. To ensure it was as imposing as Jurgen himself, they added an enormous set of moose antlers as part of the chair back and—voila! —a makeshift throne for a villain standing over seven feet tall.
Viewers paying close attention will notice that the design team pays homage to the original Jumanji board game by incorporating various animal iconography resembling the game pieces into both the sets and costumes. “The homage of this goes all the way back to the book. It’s about a board game and the board game morphed into a videogame, but it always has to do with the pieces and how they move around the boards and create different havoc in the players’ lives. So we paid attention to what they did on the last one, and we’ve added the monkeys. Every set has got some kind of animal in it. And then Louise Mingenbach tried to do the same thing as the last costume designer did, putting the animals into the clothing so there is a little reference to all those things and how the game works.”
Veteran costume designer, Louise Mingenbach has dressed everything from a group of hard-partying friends (The Hangover film series) to teams of iconic mutant on both ends of the good vs. evil spectrum (the X-Men films). So she brought her craft to the Jumanji universe, reuniting her with longtime collaborator, Bill Brzeski. “Louise I have known for years. She did the Hangover movies with me and we talk a lot. She had to recreate the original costumes, but also design a whole new winter version of those costumes,” says Brzeski.
Each location came with its own set of challenges in term of production logistics – especially the frigid conditions of the Canadian Rockies. To outfit the Jumanji hero cast for this frigid mountainous trek, Mingenbach created a winter look to help them on their journey. “There’s something just fundamentally funny also about seeing Jack and Kevin in these insane winter outfits. You’ve just never seen them like that before. And obviously they all give each other a really hard time about how silly they look in their winter garb,” says producer Matt Tolmach. “Jumanji is a comedy, and we never live very far from that, even when the stakes are super-high. They are all still very identifiable as our characters, but now they’re all a little warmer, which was good for the actors since we were actually shooting in Calgary in the snow.”
In addition to the challenge of recreating familiar costumes and updating them to suit the winter weather, there was the task of finding a fresh take on the characters, while keeping them recognizable. “Those archetypal costumes come from the mythology of videogames. And they’re kind of a cliché, kind of a thing that they do in all the games – you know the Laura Croft characters and the different characters. So she had to feel that out and work with Jake to figure out what those characters look like,” says Tolmach.
ABOUT THE STUNTS
Everything about this film is about taking it to the next level – especially in terms of action sequences and stunts. “When you are fortunate enough to work on a sequel you naturally want to do things bigger. Even more important though is to do them better! It was important for us to build out the world of Jumanji. We wanted to elevate the challenges for our heroes while also expanding the universe. To do that it requires making sure you have the perfect team to execute with,” explains producer, Hiram Garcia. “We were very excited to add second unit director/stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, who brings an unbelievable acumen in the world of stunts and action. Wade did a fantastic job running our second unit and creating sequences with our actors that were incredible.”
Eastwood, whose resume includes Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and the Men In Black film series, was up to the challenge. A self-proclaimed avid gamer, Eastwood was eager to create the complex action sequences, using the avatars’ super human powers and skills to stretch the truth a bit to accommodate the CGI of the video game world. Known for designing spectacular stunts using live and practical action, Eastwood was mindful of crafting the action to stay very true to the character and the story. “I don’t shoot action just for the sake of action. Anyone can shoot action, make it look like it’s explosive and fantastic, but it’s very important to me to make the characters believable through the action,” he explains.
“I treat it as a real environment and try and use it in as much as I can to keep the character very practically involved in the action.”
Known for extreme stunts in films that may not necessarily be appropriate for children, Eastwood was excited by the opportunity to work on a family-friendly project, being a fan of the series going back to the original Jumanji. “Yeah, I saw the original, and then I saw Jake’s first rendition of it and it was just a real fun movie I could watch with my family. I laughed the whole way through it. I was attracted more to the characters and watching how they come through these avatars,” says Eastwood. “I felt like I could do some fun stuff with the action, as I enjoy character-based action, this was appealing on that basis.”
“We just wanted to make everything 2.0.—next level—and have fun with it. I like doing real hard-hitting action. For me, the challenge on this was to add that jeopardy to the action that we’re doing, but still keep it, lighthearted and fun. I don’t want to scare the audience and the kids that watch it,” he continues.
To accomplish that, Jake Kasdan and Wade Eastwood ensured that the physical comedy of each character and their avatar was a key part of all the action sequences. “We have pushed all the characters much harder in this film with doing their own practical action. All of the cast were willing to give it a go on their own and try their own stunts and have fun with it,” enthuses Eastwood.
To create the breakneck dune buggy chase sequence, Eastwood and his 2nd unit action crew trekked to the Glamis Dunes of California to shoot the majority of the practical car footage. “I’ve shot a lot of dunes before. I shot in Namibia, which is stunning, shot in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. But to have those dunes on your door step in California – it’s incredible,” says Eastwood. “You know, this is three hour drive from the beach and you’re in these amazing dunes. This sort of land just ends. It just becomes a sea of sand dunes.”
The beauty of the location did not come without its share of logistical challenges, courtesy of Mother Nature. “With dunes, you can shoot one day and then if you have a heavy wind overnight, the dunes are completely different,” explains Eastwood. In order to maximize their time in Glamis, the crew had to get their setup routine down to a science. “We had two rehearsal days out there for how we could move as a unit, so that’s video village, the medic, the rangers – everyone was in in buggies. It was remarkable how quickly and how insightfully the guys moved around those dunes. I knew the areas I wanted to shoot to match the light that we’re in and the crew would be waiting. I’d radio to them and in 20 minutes, we could be setup anywhere in the dunes,” recalls Eastwood.
To ensure the footage they were getting synced up, they established a live video feed that transmitted back to Jake Kasdan and the crew back on the stages in Atlanta, allowing them to see the dune buggy action in real time.
Sure to delight audiences is the return of Ruby Roundhouse’s dance fighting, which is taken to the next level with the incorporation of Ruby’s new strength: nunchucks. Eastwood and his team had actress Karen Gillan and her stunt double train with the martial arts weapon—all different lengths, styles, and rubber, both soft and hard. “Every time you see her, she’s flicking nunchucks, she’s doing drills – she’s phenomenal,” Eastwood says of Gillan’s diligence to master her new weapon.
“They’ve given me nunchucks – watch out everyone! Every day I’m working with them. There are about five pairs of nunchucks in my trailer at all times. There’s some in my hotel room. I’m just livin’ the nunchuck life at the moment. I’m lethal with them and I drop them a lot, which is quite worrying for people. But, I’ve perfected this whole routine where I take out like five guys in a row with these nunchucks…and it’s something I love so much,” confesses Gillan.
The actress herself is thrilled at the return of the dance fight. “I was so happy. The dance fight for Martha is the best strength out of all of them because it’s so unique. This time, it’s more brutal and way more deadly,” says Gillan. “It’s something that I think younger girls have really connected with…feeling like they can be empowered when they watch her. People of all ages are enjoying the fact that this girl can really defend herself in a very powerful way, which is just really cool to see.”
For Eastwood, one of the highlights of working on the film was watching stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart find the physical comedy as the avatars for Eddie and Milo, respectively. “Dwayne’s hilarious doing that because he is so big, but then his voice comes out, it’s just sort of whiny angry Grandpa. It’s so funny, even the little things like that, you know, (as Eddie) he’s got weak knees, dodgy hips, you know, he’s getting old. And suddenly, he’s jumping around full of energy and vigor of life and he’s discovering that,” say Eastwood.
As for Kevin Hart’s interpretation of Danny Glover’s Milo, audiences are in for some serious laughs. “He’s embraced that character so deeply. Danny Glover’s got these little things that he did when I was growing up watching him, and Kevin just captured it ridiculously on a new level,” marvels Eastwood. “It’s not always just through the action, but the characters are laugh out loud hilarious. Even in take three, take four, and take five, saying the same lines. I can’t get through like the first five seconds, I’m in hysterics. The audience is going to go crazy.”
Karen Gillan agrees. “Honestly all I remember doing during the shoot is cry-laughing. I mean like actual tears coming out of my eyes. I don’t know how they’ve gotten any takes out of me. It’s so funny seeing everybody do these characters, it’s ridiculous!”
Fans of the Jumanji will experience the visual feast they’ve come to expect from the series, thanks to visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear and his team, starting with the swarm of attacking ostriches, which pursue the avatars in dune buggies. “At first, one comes over, and Dwayne Johnson is like, ‘it’s just an ostrich!’ Then, over the horizon, thousands come towards them. They turn around and they jump into these dune buggies, and just take off with these ostriches chasing. They got these huge heads that can smash into metal! And they’re just…basically trying to kill them,” says Breakspear. “We’ve researched the whole thing. When I was in South Africa on another show, I went down to the Cape, and these ostriches were just running around there – and I got chased by one! I know the fear of being chased by a bird that’s twice my size. So I feel very personally attached to this sequence.”
“I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to make outrageous requests that then a team of geniuses all over the world have to figure out how to actually execute. And on this movie, we had an absolutely staggeringly great group of people working on animals all over the place,” says director, Jake Kasdan. The visual effects group is truly a global team, with over 5,000 artists working tirelessly at various VFX houses all over the world, including Los Angeles, New Zealand, Montreal, Vancouver, and Melbourne. In addition to tasks like adding in backgrounds and digitally smoothing out tire tracks on sand dunes to make them look pristine, they also get to create a range of animals for the Jumanji universe, including hippos, giant anacondas, horses, camels, mandrills, and hyenas.
Breakspear explains the painstaking work that goes into creating the visual effects: “For every second of the big visual effects shots you see, it’s been worked on for probably months and months of people’s time. People at these companies work on a single shot. You might see it go by like that; they’ll work on that for six months just so they can bring that to you and make you just amazed at what you see.” With the number of visual effects shots in the film, the stakes are high and the clock is ticking. “You’ve got thousands of shots on the movie. So what you see in the movie sometimes is the tip of the iceberg to what’s been done by visual effects in the background.”
“The teams I work with, they are special. They are really amazing people,” he says of this group of artists and digital wizards. “The needle’s at 11 – it really is. The people that are gonna come and see this movie, they want to see the best. And visual effects plans on delivering.”
Another key team member returning to help expand the world of Jumanji is Oscar®-winning special effects supervisor J.D. Schwalm, whose work includes First Man, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and the upcoming Avatar 2.
Working closely with the visual effects team, as well as the 2nd unit director and stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood, Schwalm and his team helped bring the world of Jumanji to life on set. One of the more intense sequences involves an intricate puzzle of hundreds of rope bridges suspended over a gorge, requiring the avatars to hastily navigate it while being pursued. Says production designer Bill Brzeski, “This is a videogame world. We knew these hundreds of bridges that were written in the script would kind of float up in the sky, and intercept each other in the gorge of this action sequence, but we didn’t have to explain how that happened.”
Schwalm and his team meticulously planned out this action sequence shot by shot, angle by angle inside the huge blue screen stage in Atlanta. While it was key to the suspense of the story that the bridges looked flimsy and unsafe, in actuality, they were reinforced with steel plates and rail running through them to ensure the actors’ safety. “We had to make the bridges light enough so they could move around on the set, but heavy enough to support all of the cast. In the end we had three 30′ long bridge sections, two 20′ sections, and we also had 20′ and 10′ vertical sections of the bridge. All of the bridges we made were interchangeable,” says Schwalm. “It was important we gave Jake and 2nd unit director/ stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood the essential tools they needed for the big action sequences.”
Early in the film, the actors get dropped into the game by falling out of the belly of the plane belonging to Nigel, depositing them onto the sand dunes. Schwalm and his team found a rare Russian plane that can fly low at very slow speeds, which was ideal, since the actors need to fall out and not get hurt. However, it did not have a loading door, so they had to create one. “We scanned the entire plane with a 3-D scanner, brought it back to Atlanta, where we designed our loading door and all the hydraulics,” reveals Schwalm. Once they created the big trap door, creating the bumpy flight was simple: “We ultimately put the plane on top of one of our big 6-axis motion bases and we were able to give them all the flight beats and the nose dives, to simulate the rough weather.”
One of the bigger builds for Schwalm and his team was the exterior of Jurgen’s Fortress banquet hall. “Production designer Bill Brzeski came to me and wanted to give the hall a really evil and ominous feel, and make it look like a Viking warrior type of place. Bill wanted lots of real flames in the set,” explains Schwalm,
His team built giant fireproof columns that ran through the set with 20′ tall flames going through them all day long. There was a massive fireplace where Jurgen is burning giant logs, which was run by a giant propane line that fed to a 1,000-gallon propane tank. Always making safety a priority, Schwalm also installed a giant fire sprinkler system above the set in case it was needed. Plus, air quality inside the set was monitored throughout the shooting day. Says Schwalm, “We kept a close watch on everything and ultimately it went off without a hitch. The best part was a lot of the light they used was all natural light coming from the fire.”
THE FEARLESS LEADER
Jake Kasdan, the man at the helm of the global Jumanji franchise has movie magic in his DNA—literally. His father, Lawrence Kasdan, has written some of the biggest blockbuster films of all time, in addition to being a prolific director and producer. So it’s only fitting that Jake Kasdan would follow in his father’s footsteps.
“Jake Kasdan is the heart and soul of the Jumanji adventure. He is the director. He is one of the writers. He’s a producer. He is the North Star. And, there was no Jumanji without Jake,” says producer Matt Tolmach. “He was the one who challenged all of us not only to make a movie that lived up to what we had accomplished before, but also to go even further. There was that moment where we said, ‘How do we make this game more thrilling? How do we make the movie even funnier?’”
Jumanji star Jack Black has been a longtime collaborator. “We go way back to the 90s. We did a movie together a long time ago called Orange County and I loved the way he directed. He likes to work a lot on the fly, in the moment, asking you to try different things, different lines. ‘Here, go this way, go that way’ and he keeps the actors on their toes. I love his style. We mesh together really well,’ says Black. “We’ve worked together a bunch of times since then; he’s definitely one of my favorite directors because of that skill. And now that he’s doing Jumanji level production, it’s a whole different game. We were doing fun little indies together, but now it’s like Avengers level production budget. But he’s just relaxed. He doesn’t care. He’s just like watching the monitor going, ‘Bam, funny idea! Bam, funny line!’ off the top of his head.
“He is open, which is another great quality for a director to have – to have open ears for and care what the actors are thinking about. If you have an idea, he really listens. He is wide open. A lot of directors don’t do that, but Jake is very actor friendly. It’s that collaborative spirit that makes a movie fun to work on. It’s hard to do that under the pressure of a big budget production. If you can stay relaxed and cool in the moment, it’s a gift – and he’s got it,” observes Black.
Kasdan receives high marks from another person who knows something about filmmaking running in the family, Colin Hanks, who portrays Alex in the film. “I think Jake has got a deft hand at a lot of stuff. He is sort of a complete package in terms of writing and directing. And he’s just very supportive of everyone. His demeanor is great. I think just the way he carries himself sort of brings the best out of everybody. I think that starts at the top,” says Hanks.
“Jake is a really detailed director and very specific about the beats of his comedy. He’s got a really clear understanding of the kind of movie he wants to make the minute he starts shooting it, which I think is so helpful,” says Nick Jonas. “All of us obviously trust him, uh, because he made an amazing movie and made us all look good in the last one, so I think we’re able to just dive in and know that he’s gonna nail it like he always does. I always get so excited when he gives me that really specific direction and it kind of helps us all along the way and it’s this big epic Jumanji journey, getting to tell some of these other stories, which are really poignant and interesting to tell from different perspectives. It just makes this whole thing even better.”
THE WORLD NEEDS JUMANJI
“I think audiences responded so positively to our first Jumanji for a few reasons. I think that it was fun, it had a ton of heart, and it was a surprise. We were fortunate enough for it to be a really big global hit, but we were like the sleeper of Christmas time. We came out against Star Wars and everybody called us crazy – and we were crazy. But, we also felt like we had something special in our movie,” maintains Dwayne Johnson.
He continues, “yes, we were fun. Yes, we were entertaining. Yes, we had a ton of heart. But, I also think we went into our movie with tremendous reverence, love, and respect for the franchise and the original movie with Robin Williams, whom we all loved and honored as best we possibly could. And I think that was a fundamental element about our movie that resonated with audiences around the world.”
If you ask Jack Black, the secret to the franchise’s ongoing appeal is simple:
“I think that Jumanji resonated worldwide because it was a great combination of action and comedy. Dwayne Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. Kevin Hart is the funniest man alive. It was just sort of a party, and people responded to that. I think people wanted to party. Now, more than ever, I think the world needs Jumanji.”
ABOUT THE CAST
With film revenues exceeding $10 billion worldwide, DWAYNE JOHNSON (Bravestone) is a global box-office powerhouse with a resume, in film and television, as extensive as it is versatile.
Johnson has garnered much critical acclaim and recognition for his range and diverse projects. Most recently, he received the 2019 MTV Generation Award and was named one of 2019 Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
Johnson is taking on double duty these days as the star and producer in all of his recent and upcoming feature film projects. His most recent film to hit theatres, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, has become one of Johnson’s most successful films to date. The highly anticipated spin-off from the Fast and Furious franchise has grossed over $700 million worldwide and is the only title to lead the global box office for four weeks straight in 2019. Directed by David Leitch, the high-octane action film also stars Jason Statham and Idris Elba and was released on August 2, 2019.
Next year, Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions will partner with Disney on Jungle Cruise. Together, along with co-star Emily Blunt, they will bring Disneyland’s beloved theme park ride to life on the silver screen and take audiences on the safari ride of a lifetime.
Adding to his 2020 slate, Johnson reteams with his Skyscraper and Central Intelligence writer/director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, in Netflix’s international action-thriller, Red Notice, starring opposite Gal Gadot.
On the television side, Johnson is back this year for a fifth and final season of HBO’s highest rated 30-minute series, “Ballers.” Johnson, with his Seven Bucks Productions, continues to serve as a producer alongside Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson.
In addition, Johnson created, produced and starred in NBC’s large-scale competition series “The Titan Games,” which is expected to return for a second season in 2020.
Recently, Johnson and Seven Bucks Productions produced Fighting with My Family, a biographical sports comedy-drama based on the WWE career of professional wrestler, Paige. In addition to his producing duties, Johnson had a cameo role in the film which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival and premiered to rave reviews. Additional recent film credits include Legendary’s Skyscraper, New Line Cinema’s Rampage, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle, Paramount’s Baywatch, the 8th Fast and Furious installment of the successful franchise The Fate of the Furious, Central Intelligence and the widely successful Disney animated film Moana.
Prior to that, Johnson starred in the summer blockbuster San Andreas, Furious 7, Paramount’s Hercules, the dramatic thriller Snitch, the comic book action-adventure G.I. Joe: Retaliation, as well as the second installment of the franchise, the dramatic independent film Empire State, Pain & Gain, alongside Mark Wahlberg, as well as franchise films, Fast 5 and Fast and Furious 6, which grossed a combined $1.4 billion globally.
Other film credits include Race to Witch Mountain, The Tooth Fairy, Planet 51, Get Smart, The Game Plan, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which grossed over $325 million, Be Cool, MGM’s sequel to Get Shorty, alongside John Travolta, the 2004 remake Walking Tall and Universal’s The Rundown. Johnson was casted by Stephen Sommers in The Mummy Returns, which grossed more than $400 million worldwide. His character was so well received by Universal executives during dailies that they immediately planned a film based on his character, The Scorpion King.
Johnson’s production company, Seven Bucks Productions, produces original television programming including HBO’s “Ballers,” NBC’s “The Titan Games,” BET’s “Finding Justice,” Paramount Network’s “Rock the Troops” and HBO Documentary Films’ “Rock and a Hard Place.”
Born in San Francisco and raised in Hawaii, Dwayne Johnson excelled as a high school All-American and subsequently as a star defensive lineman for the University of Miami Hurricanes, helping lead his team to a National Championship. Upon graduating from the University of Miami, Johnson followed in the footsteps of his WWE Hall of Fame father, Rocky Johnson, and grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, by joining the competitive sports entertainment world of the WWE. Within a seven-year period (1996-2003), his intense passion led to an extraordinarily successful career breaking attendance records across the US and setting pay-per-view buy rate records during that period as well. Dwayne Johnson’s character creation of “The Rock” became one of the most charismatic and dynamic characters the industry has ever seen. In March 2012, Johnson made a record-breaking return to the WWE where he crushed John Cena at Wrestle Mania XXVIII in Miami.
Not content to simply be in front of the camera, Johnson penned an autobiography, The Rock Says, which reached #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List shortly after its publication in January 2000. Johnson also created The Rock Foundation in 2006, with a mission to educate, empower and motivate children worldwide through health and physical fitness.
A dedicated philanthropist, Johnson serves as a National Celebrity Wish Ambassador for The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Johnson frequently invites Make-A-Wish kids and their families to his movie sets giving them a once in a lifetime experience. Additionally, a portion of Johnson’s annual Veteran’s Day capsule in his Project Rock Under Armour clothing line is donated and directly benefits both active duty military and veterans. In 2008, United States Congress and the United States Joint Leadership Commission recognized Johnson with the prestigious Horizon Award, the U.S. Congressional Award given to an individual in the private sector who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and provided opportunities for youth nationwide.
JACK BLACK (Oberon) has cemented himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after talents in entertainment with an illustrious career that includes projects in film, television, music, and more. Black is behind the viral YouTube channel “Jablinski Games,” which launched in 2018 and reached one million subscribers in just days. The vlog style channel features weekly content covering games, food, and Black’s everyday life.
Black also continues to tour internationally as the lead singer of the rock-folk comedy group Tenacious D, which he created with longtime friend and collaborator Kyle Gass. Their fourth studio album, “Post-Apocalypto,” is available now across streaming platforms. In conjunction with the album’s release, the duo also released an original six-episode animated series called “Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto,” which was illustrated frame-by frame entirely by Black and released on YouTube.
The band’s additional projects include the early feature film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny and two follow-up documentaries, The Making of ‘The Pick of Destiny’ and D Tour: A Tenacious Documentary, which focused on the band’s world tour in support of their film and soundtrack.
Previously, Black could be heard as the voice of Po in all three installments of DreamWorks Animation’s smash franchise Kung Fu Panda and starred as R.L. Stein in Sony Pictures’ hit movie Goosebumps . He also starred in the critically-acclaimed independent film Bernie, a role for which he earned a 2013 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and a 2013 Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Male Lead. Additionally, he topped the box office with Tropic Thunder ,School of Rock (which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musica”) and the Academy Award®-winning blockbuster film King Kong . In September 2018, Black received a star on the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame for his storied film career, which has included roles in Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, The Polka King, The D Train, Gulliver’s Travels, The Big Year, The Muppets, Nacho Libre, Bob Roberts, High Fidelity, Saving Silverman, Year One, Shallow Hal, Ice Age, Orange County, Envy, Shark Tale, and The Holiday .
Black currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Tanya, and their two sons.
KEVIN HART (Mouse Finbar) was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he launched his career as a comedian during an amateur night at a local comedy club. Over the years, Hart has become Hollywood’s box office powerhouse, opening ten films as the at number-one movie at the box office opening weekend. Hart recently wrapped production on his new film, Fatherhood, a movie which he is staring in and also producing through his production company, Hartbeat Productions. Based on the best-selling book, Two Kisses for Maddy, Fatherhood tells the story of a single dad navigating parenthood after his wife unexpectedly dies a day after giving birth and is slated to release Spring 2020. Earlier this year, Hart reprised his role as the white-haired rabbit, Snowball, in Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 which hit theaters on June 7, 2019. Earlier this year, Hart starred in STX Entertainment’s The Upside alongside Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman. In 2020, Hart will star in Quibi’s “Action Scene,” the first production of its kind by Hart’s digital network, Laugh Out Loud, where he will play a fictionalized version of himself on a quest to land the action movie role of a lifetime. In 2018, Hart co-wrote, produced, and starred in Universal’s Night School, all under Hartbeat Productions. In 2017, Hart starred in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, his highest grossing movie to date. He recently wrapped his global live standup comedy tour, “The Irresponsible Tour,” which was also released as an original Netflix standup special in April 2019. Hart’s last tour, “What Now,” grossed over $100 million worldwide and culminated in a performance to a sold-out crowd at Philadelphia’s NFL stadium. Hart’s previous credits include: Central Intelligence, The Secret Life of Pets, and the Ride Along films. Kevin’s memoir, I Can’t Make This Up, debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the Top 10 Print Hardcover Bestsellers List for ten weeks straight. Hart’s digital network, the Laugh Out Loud Network, serves as a platform for emerging comedians and is home to two premium series which both feature Kevin – “What the Fit?” and “Cold as Balls.” Kevin’s brand endorsements include NIKE, Chase J.P Morgan and additionally, Hart is an investor & designer in Tommy John.
A talented actress, writer and director, KAREN GILLAN (Ruby Roundhouse) continues to expand her repertoire with dynamic projects.
Upcoming, Gillan will lend her voice to Nick Bruno and Troy Quane’s Spies in Disguise, alongside Will Smith and Tom Holland. 20th Century Fox is set to release the film on December 25, 2019.
In 2020, she will star as Mercedes in 20th Century Fox’s Call of the Wild, based on the best-selling novel. The film, which co-stars Bradley Whitford, Harrison Ford and Dan Stevens, will be released on February 21, 2020. Later that year, she will star in Navot Papushado’s action thriller, Gunpowder Milkshake opposite Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Paul Giamatti.
Gillan was most recently seen as Nebula in Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame, alongside Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.The film follows The Avengers and their allies as they deal with the aftermath of Thanos’ blitz of devastation and defeat him. The blockbuster, which was released on April 26th, opened to rave reviews and has become the highest grossing film of all time. Gillan originated the role on screen in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy opposite Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, later appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Earlier in 2018, Gillan made her directorial debut with The Party’s Just Beginning, which she also wrote, produced, and starred in. The film premiered to rave reviews at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was released by The Orchard on December 7th. The film will be released in the UK later this year.
Other film credits include Michael Dowse’s Stuber, James Ponsoldt’s The Circle with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence alongside Ethan Hawke and John Travolta, John McKay’s Not Another Happy Ending, Adam McKay’s Best Picture nominated The Big Short, alongside Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, and Steve Carell, Collin Schiffli’s All Creatures Below, opposite David Dastmalchian, Harris Goldberg’s Alex & The List alongside Jennifer Morrison and Patrick Fugit, and the horror/thriller box office hit Oculus.
On television, Gillan was featured in three seasons of the BBC’s critically acclaimed series “Doctor Who.” Gillan starred as Amy Pond, a companion of the series protagonist the Doctor, in his eleventh incarnation, played by Matt Smith. Gillan appeared as a series regular from the fifth season to midway through the seventh season.
Prior television credits include ABC’s “Selfie,” HBO’S “7 Days in Hell” and BBC’s “We’ll Take Manhattan.”
Off screen, Gillan is an avid supporter of the charity Mikey’s Line, a mobile suicide prevention text service and hotline based in her hometown of Inverness, Scotland.
NICK JONAS (Seaplane) is one third of the preeminent male group of this century, the Jonas Brothers, who most recently opened the floodgates for a new era of titans in pop music. They earned three consecutive number one albums and sold out shows throughout three continents. The tremendous success of the band provided a launch pad for the successful and storied solo careers of Jonas and his brothers, Joe and Kevin Jonas, who have kept loyal fans yearning for a reunion, until now. The band recently announced their highly anticipated return to music with a new single, “Sucker,” which debuted at number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Making history once more, the band captured #1 on the Billboard 200 with their now Platinum-Certified album, “Happiness Begins.”
Jonas has also received solo critically-acclaimed success off his self-titled album which includes the triple-platinum and #1 U.S. radio hit, “Jealous.” A recipient of the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s prestigious Hal David Starlight Award, Jonas co-wrote an original song titled “Home” for the movie Ferdinand, released by FOX Animation. The song was nominated for 2018 Golden Globe in the category of Best Original Song.
As an actor, Jonas garnered unanimous critical praise for his lead role in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival favorite Goat. He also appeared in a guest-starring role in the Fox’s horror-comedy series, “Scream Queens” and starred in the gritty television show “Kingdom.” Jonas can be seen alongside Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Sony’s reimagining of 1995’s Jumanji. The film passed Spider-Man to become Sony’s highest-grossing film ever at the U.S. box office. Later this year he will feature in the sequel and Roland Emmerich’s Midway. Jonas also recently completed production on Lionsgate’s post-apocalyptic thriller, Chaos Walking, which stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland, and is scheduled for release in 2020.
The spring he will appear as the newest coach on the upcoming spring cycle of four-time Emmy Award-Winning hit series “The Voice.”
AWKWAFINA (Ming) is an American actress, writer, rapper and musician from Queens, New York. She grew up with her given name, Nora Lum, and has since used her trademark comedic style and signature flair to become a breakout talent in the entertainment industry.
Most recently, Lum is receiving glowing reviews for her starring role in the indie darling The Farewell, based on a true story about a family saying goodbye to their beloved matriarch – the only person who doesn’t know she is dying. In just its first weekend in four theaters only, the film beat the record of biggest per-theater average of the year, previously held by Avengers: Endgame, the second best-selling movie in history. The small family drama quickly won over viewers and critics alike, with many calling it one of the best films of 2019. The film releases nationwide on August 2, 2019.
Lum brings an impressive range of talent to everything she does, most famously to Warner Bros’ smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, opposite Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Ken Jeong in which she starred as Peik Lin. The film opened on August 15, 2018 to rave reviews and four straight weekends of $20+ million at the box office. Lum hosted “Saturday Night Live” that same year as part of the show’s 44th season.
She starred in another Warner Bros feature, Ocean’s 8, directed by Gary Ross and alongside an impeccable ensemble cast including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter. Prior to that, she starred in the indie comedy, Dude, written and directed by Olivia Milch.In 2016, Lum made her feature film debut in the comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, with Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne and was heard as the voice of Quail in the animated adventure Storks.
Her first book, Awkwafina’s NYC, a travel guide to New York, was published by Penguin Random House in 2015.Lum became an internet sensation in 2012 with her satirical work in the viral video “My Vag,” and her 2014 debut album, which featured her acclaimed raps “NYC Bitche$,” “Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margarita),” and the title track, “Yellow Ranger.”
Lum can next be seen in her Comedy Central Show, “Awkwafina is Nora From Queens,” in January 2020 and Marvel’s Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.
She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Multi-hyphenate actor/writer/director and musician ALEX WOLFF (Spencer) is one of the most sought-after young actors in Hollywood with multiple exciting projects on deck. In 2016, Wolff was selected for the coveted NextGen Rising Star list in The Hollywood Reporter.
Wolff received immense buzz, including an award from the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society, for his role in A24’s critically acclaimed, Hereditary, which released in June 2018. He also received the Auteur Award at the San Diego Film Festival for the role.
Most recently, FilmRise distributed Wolff’s feature directorial debut, The Cat and the Moon, in which the budding filmmaker wrote the script for, directs and stars. Wolff spent several years writing the script which focuses on a teenage boy named Nick who comes to New York to temporarily live with a jazz musician friend of his deceased father, while the boy’s mother is checked into a rehab facility. The film is helmed by producers Ken H. Keller and Caron Rudner, and executive producers Peter Berg and Josh Boone. It was released in limited theaters and VOD on October 25th, 2019.
Wolff recently wrapped production opposite Nicolas Cage in a starring role in the feature film, PIG.
Wolff will be seen in Human Capital opposite Liev Schrieber and Marisa Tomei, Bad Education opposite Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, and Joey Klein’s Castle in the Ground. All three screened at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Additionally, it was recently announced that Wolff will be starring in The Line opposite John Malkovich.
In 2018, Wolff starred in the Polly Draper directed Stella’s Last Weekend, alongside brother Nat Wolff, and received praise for his work in Peter Livolsi’s House of Tomorrow. He also appeared in the Netflix indie dramedy, Dude, opposite Lucy Hale and Awkwafina.
Previously, Wolff appeared opposite Dwayne Johnson in Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle, which crossed the $380 million marker domestically after its December 20, 2017 release. In November 2017, he starred in My Friend Dahmer, based on the acclaimed graphic novel by John Backderf. The story surrounds Jeffrey Dahmer and his struggles with a difficult family life as a young boy- and during his teenage years as he slowly transforms, edging closer to the serial killer he becomes.
Wolff has an illustrious career in theater as well. In 2019, he starred as Jeremy in Manhattan Theatre Club’s off-Broadway production of “Long Lost” at the New York City Center. In 2017, Wolff starred in The New Group’s off-Broadway play, “All The Fine Boys,” opposite Abigail Breslin and Isabelle Fuhrman. Written and directed by Erica Schmidt, the play delved into the complexities of sexual awakening, ending its run on March 26, 2017.
In late 2016, Wolff received critical acclaim in Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, the CBS Films/Lionsgate film that chronicles the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. That same year, Wolff starred in Coming Through the Rye, produced by Emmy-winning TV director Jim Sadwith, opposite Chris Cooper and based on Sadwith’s own attempt to track down JD Salinger and his encounters with the author of The Catcher in the Rye. Coming Through the Rye was a film festival darling, garnering critical praise at Heartland, Savannah, and Austin film festivals’ with Wolff receiving the Rising Star award at the Denver and Coronado Film festivals. The film was released on October 14, 2016.
Wolff directed, wrote and starred in the short film, Boots, which debuted November 12th, 2015, and was featured at the Long Island Film Festival.
Other past credits include My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, HairBrained, for which Alex received the Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for Best Actor at the Brooklyn International Film Festival; A Birder’s Guide to Everything, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; The Sitter starring Jonah Hill (2011); HBO’s medical drama “In Treatment” (2010); USA’s police comedy-drama “Monk” (2009); and Nickelodeon TV movie Mr. Troop Mom (2009).
Wolff gained international recognition from an early age when he co-starred with his older brother, Nat Wolff, in 2005’s musical comedy The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie.
On the music side, Wolff and his brother formed a duo called Nat & Alex Wolff and released their first studio album called “Black Sheep” in 2011. Their latest songs are currently available on iTunes and Spotify and can be found on the soundtracks to many of their films, most recently on the Polly Draper directed Stella’s Last Weekend. Their last EP “Public Places” was released on December 2016.
Wolff currently resides in New York City.
MORGAN TURNER (Martha) broke into the film industry at the age of 5, appearing as Dick Vermeil’s daughter in the Mark Wahlberg football drama Invincible. Turner’s name-making debut came on the small screen as the smart-mouthed young Veda, opposite Kate Winslet, in Todd Haynes directed HBO mini-series “Mildred Pierce.” Following her critically acclaimed performance, Turner appeared as the cyberbullying Sarah, in the girl empowerment film The Sisterhood of Night with Georgie Henley, Kara Hayward and Olivia DeJonge. Notably, she was given a rave review in Variety Magazine for her role as Natalia, in the Noah Pritzker coming of age film, Quitters, which debuted at the SXSW film festival. Most recently, Turner once again paired with acclaimed director Todd Haynes, playing the role of Janet in his adaptation of the illustrated novel Wonderstruck. Other film credits include: The Answer Man, Remember Me and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. In addition to acting, Turner performs with three Philadelphia based bands, writing original music and playing the bass guitar. She also is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and actively engages in her community to spread awareness of the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ youth in the entertainment industry.
Recently this season, SER’DARIUS BLAIN (Fridge) played a fundamental role as a young solider in Vietnam in the military drama The Last Full Measure, with Samuel L. Jackson portraying the older version of the same character. Sebastian Stan, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Jeremy Irvine, and Alison Sudol also star in the Roadside Attractions release, which opens in theaters August 25th.
Blain was seen in the role of Anthony ‘Fridge’ Johnson, one of the four young leads in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starred Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as the adult leads, and grossed $962 million worldwide box office, becoming Sony Pictures’ highest grossing release of all-time.
Blain previously played opposite Kristen Stewart in the IFC Films feature Camp X-Ray, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance film festival. Blain’s acting debut came in 2011 with Paramount’s remake of Footloose, where he portrayed the role of Woody.
On the small screen, Blain most recently completed a one-year role as Galvin on the CW reboot series “Charmed.” His other credits include arcs on the Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse” and the Showtime series “Shameless.”
MADISON ISEMAN (Bethany) is a multi-talented, dedicated actress, who continues to portray an array of complex characters across all creative mediums. She appeared in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as Bethany, one of the four teenagers that discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting. As they become the adult avatars they choose, Bethany becomes Jack Black, her choice as avatar.
Iseman is currently in production on Warner Bros.’ teen drama Clouds. Directed by Justin Baldoni (Five Feet Apart), Iseman stars as the female lead and love interest opposite Fin Argus. The film follows the true story of Zach Sobiech (Argus), a teenager who is diagnosed with a rare bone cancer and turns to music writing the song Clouds, which went viral on YouTube video and reached No. 1 on iTunes prior to his death at 18 in 2013.
In September, Iseman wrapped production on Amazon Studios and Blumhouse TV’s supernatural thriller Nocturne directed by Zu Quirke. She stars in the film opposite Sydney Sweeney. Iseman plays Vi Lowe a talented pianist at a prestigious school and twin sister to Juliet (Sweeney). An already strained relationship, the sisters take a dark turn in their competitive nature toward one another vying for ultimate artistic success.
In November, Iseman will be seen starring in Shout! Studios’ Feast of the Seven Fishes. The comedy-drama is based on the award-nominated graphic novel and Italian holiday cookbook of the same name following an Italian family and young man Tony Oliverio (Skyler Gisondo) who meets a gorgeous Ivy Leaguer Beth (Iseman) and works to gain his family’s approval. The film releases domestically November 15th. In September, she was seen starring in Cranked Up Film’s punk rock apocalyptic love story Riot Girls, which takes place in 1995 after a mysterious disease wipes out all adults leaving a new age with two gangs that are pitted against each other in a brutal war for territory, resources and survival. The film released on September 13th in select theaters domestically and on VOD.
Iseman’s other upcoming projects include The F$#! It List, for Awesomeness Films about a high school senior whose senior prank goes wrong and the thriller I Saw a Man with Yellow Eyes for Sweet Tomato Films opposite Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr.
Over the summer, Iseman appeared in theaters around the world in New Line Cinema’s horror film Annabelle Comes Home, the third installment in the Annabelle franchise. Iseman plays babysitter Mary Ellen to Judy (McKenna Grace) and both find themselves with the demonic doll Annabelle when she comes out to play, unleashing a funhouse of horrors on the young girls. The film opened #2 at the domestic box office and found incredible success globally with a $200m total box office.
In fall 2018, Iseman was seen starring as the female lead in Sony’s Goosebumps sequel, which was set in the small town of Wardenclyffe on Halloween night. It follows Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) as they find a manuscript in an abandoned house that was once owned by R.L. Stine. When the boys open the manuscript, they release Slappy, who has plans to cause a Halloween Apocalypse. Sonny, Sam, and Sonny’s sister Sarah (Iseman) team up with Jack Black’s R.L. Stine.
Following work on select short and indie films, Iseman booked her first television role on the hit ABC series “Modern Family” as Sam, the love interest for Rico Rodriguez’s character Manny. Iseman continued acting in the independent film Wild for the Night with Bianco Santos and James Maslow, Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger” and Awesomeness TV’s “Mahomie Madness” with Teala Dunn. Other projects for Iseman include the Halloween-themed films Ghost Squad and Tales of Halloween as well as TruTV’s Those Who Can’t and the independent film Laid in America, alongside YouTube stars Caspar Lee and KSI and Hollywood stars Bobby Lee and Angela Kinsey; merging the worlds of digital and feature films together. Most recently, Iseman was seen in the films Beauty Mark and Liza, Liza Skies Are Grey and in the TV movie The Rachels and as Charlotte in the CMT series “Still The King” alongside Billy Ray Cyrus.
The South Carolina native discovered her interest in the arts in middle school when she became involved in videography and photography, creating her own short films. There were limited theatrical opportunities in her hometown so Iseman found her own outlets, participating in church choir and learning to play the violin and ukulele. She moved to Los Angeles when she was 16 years old to pursue her craft full time.
Iseman currently resides in Los Angeles.
Actor, producer and humanitarian DANNY GLOVER (Milo) has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 30 years. As an actor, his film credits range from the blockbuster Lethal Weapon franchise to smaller independent features, some of which Glover also produced. In recent years he has starred in an array of motion pictures including the critically-acclaimed Dreamgirls directed by Bill Condon and in the futuristic 2012 for director Roland Emmerich. In addition to his film work, Glover is highly sought after as a public speaker, delivering inspirational addresses and moving performances in such diverse venues as college campuses, union rallies and business conventions.
Glover has gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice and access to health care and education programs in the United States and Africa. For these efforts Glover received a 2006 DGA Honor and was honored with a 2011 Pioneer Award from the National Civil Rights Museum. Internationally Glover has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, focusing on issues of poverty, disease and economic development in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Glover was presented in 2011 with the prestigious Medaille des Arts et des Letters from the French Ministry of Culture and was honored with a Tribute at the Deauville International Film Festival. In 2014 Glover received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of San Francisco. Currently Glover serves as UNICEF Ambassador.
In 2005, Glover co-founded NY-based Louverture Films with writer/producer Joslyn Barnes and more recent partners Susan Rockefeller and the Bertha Foundation. The company is dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. Among the films Glover has executive- or co-produced at Louverture are the César-nominated Bamako, Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Academy Award® and Emmy nominated film Trouble The Water ; the award-winning The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 and Concerning Violence; Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The House I Live In; Cannes Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, the Academy Award® nominated and Emmy winning Strong Island, ZAMA by Lucrecia Martel, and this year’s Oscar® nominated documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening by RaMell Ross and Oscar® nominated Best Foreign Language Film Capernaum by Nadine Labaki.
A native of San Francisco, Glover trained at the Black Actors’ Workshop of the American Conservatory Theatre. It was his Broadway debut in Fugard’s Master Harold…and the Boys that brought him to national recognition and led director Robert Benton to cast him in his first leading role in 1984’s Academy Award®-nominated Best Picture, Places in the Heart. The following year Glover starred in two more Best Picture nominated films: Peter Weir’s Witness and Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. In 1987 Glover partnered with Mel Gibson in the first Lethal Weapon film and went on the star in three hugely successful Lethal Weapon sequels. Glover starred in The Royal Tenenbaums and To Sleep With Anger which he executive produced and for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor.
On the small screen, Glover won an Image Award, a Cable ACE Award and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO Movie Mandela. He has also received Emmy nominations for his work in the acclaimed miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” the telefilm Freedom Song, and as a director he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Showtime’s “Just a Dream.” Glover also appeared in the HBO Original Movie Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.
Glover starred in Mr. Pig which had its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and which now appears on Netflix. Co-starring Maya Rudolph, Mr. Pig was filming entirely on location in Mexico and is a tour de force for him.
Glover starred in Almost Christmas for Universal Studios. He was also seen in Rage co-starring Nicolas Cage, Beyond the Lights and the independent Complete Unknown.
Most recently co-starred in the highly-acclaimed feature film The Old Man & The Gun opposite Robert Redford and in the films Proud Mary opposite Taraji P. Henson and Come Sunday with Chewitel Ejiofor and appeared in Sorry to Bother You.
DANNY DEVITO (Eddie) is one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile players, excelling as actor, producer and director.
The award-winning performance as Louie De Palma on the television show “Taxi” was what propelled DeVito to national prominence. He won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. In a 1999 readers’ poll conducted by TV Guide, DeVito’s Louie De Palma was voted number one among TV’s Fifty Greatest Character’s Ever.
On television, he was seen this year in a guest role in Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method.” This Fall he returned as Frank Reynolds, currently in the fourteenth season of FXX’s acclaimed cult comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” on Wednesday nights.
This year he completed filming a role in the biopic Harry Haft directed by Barry Levinson, on which he has also served as executive producer. He most recently reunited with director Tim Burton for Disney’s Dumbo.
He is the principal of Jersey Film’s 2nd Avenue, a successor company of Jersey Films. In June of 2019 he announced that they optioned the screen rights to Tom’s River: A Story of Science and Salvation, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Dan Fagin.
In 2016, he was seen in Sony Classics’ The Comedian, with Robert De Niro and Leslie Mann, directed by Taylor Hackford. DeVito directed, starred in and co-produced short film Curmudgeons, which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and was later seen at the 2016 Seattle Film Festival and 2016 London Film Festival. The same year, DeVito also co-starred in the Todd Solondz’ dark comedy Wiener-Dog.
DeVito will be heard voicing the character Bob for Walt Disney Pictures The One and Only Ivan in 2020. In 2018, he was heard voicing Dorgle in Warner Bros.’ animated Smallfoot. Other recently voiced characters include the Lorax in Universal Pictures’ animated feature The Lorax, based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. His voice was also heard in the German, Russian, Spanish and Italian versions of the film.
In 2012, DeVito and Richard Griffiths received rave reviews in the London stage revival of Neil Simon’s comedy “The Sunshine Boys.” The following year, DeVito reprised his critically acclaimed role together with former “Taxi” co-star Judd Hirsch in Los Angeles.
DeVito made his Broadway debut in 2017 in Arthur Miller’s “The Price” in the role of Gregory Solomon, earning him his first Tony Award nomination. He won a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for the role.
In 2015, DeVito was executive producer on the biographical documentary Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story. In 2014 he co-produced Universal Pictures’ crime drama A Walk Among the Tombstones and starred in All The Wilderness. In 2012 DeVito starred in Sebastian Gutierrez’s black and white crime drama, Hotel Noir.
Throughout his career, DeVito has directed more than 25 projects, including Matilda, Death To Smoochy, The War of the Roses, Hoffa, Throw Momma From the Train, The Ratings Game and numerous short films, TV movies and episodes of television, including “Taxi.”
He is also the principal of Jersey Film’s 2nd Avenue, a successor company of Jersey Films. Jersey Films has produced over 20 motion pictures, including Freedom Writers, Be Cool, Garden State, Along Came Polly, Man on the Moon, Pulp Fiction, Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Hoffa, Matilda, Living Out Loud and Erin Brockovich, which was nominated for an Academy Award®.
Apart from his work with Jersey Films, DeVito has starred in such films as The War of the Roses, Junior, Batman Returns, Twins, Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, Ruthless People, Throw Momma From the Train, Tin Men, Anything Else, Big Fish, Renaissance Man, The Big Kahuna and Heist. He also starred in The Good Night, Deck The Halls, Relative Strangers, The OH in Ohio, Be Cool and Even Money.
DeVito attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grammar school and Oratory Prep School in Summit, N.J., but appeared in only one school play, as St. Francis of Assisi. After graduation, he pursued several odd jobs, always with the idea of acting in the back of his mind. He finally entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. “They had fencing and a speech class,” he said mockingly, “So you don’t talk funny.” Unable to get work, DeVito bought a round-trip ticket and headed to Hollywood. After years of unemployment, he returned to New York. He called an old friend and former American Academy professor who, coincidentally, had been seeking him out for a starring role in one of three one-act plays presented together under the title of “The Man With the Flower in His Mouth.” Soon DeVito was into big money ($60 a week), and other stage performances followed. Among his credits were “Down the Morning Line,” “The Line of Least Existence,” “The Shrinking Bride” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
In 1975, under a grant from the American Film Institute, DeVito and his wife, actress Rhea Perlman, wrote and produced Minestrone, which has been shown twice at the Cannes Film Festival and has been translated into five languages. Later they wrote and produced a 16-millimeter black-and-white short subject, The Sound Sleeper, which won first prize at the Brooklyn Arts and Cultural Association competition.
In 2018, the mayor of Asbury Park, NJ—the town in which he was raised—declared November 17 (DeVito’s birthday) as Danny DeVito day in the city of Asbury Park, in perpetuity.
DeVito carries his success well. Never forgetting that there were more difficult times, he maintains a healthy sense of perspective. As “Taxi” character Louie DePalma, would say, “If you don’t do good today, you’ll be eatin’ dirt tomorrow.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
JAKE KASDAN (Director, Co-Writer, Producer) made his feature film debut as writer and director of Zero Effect. The following year, he directed the pilot episode for the short-lived, highly acclaimed television series “Freaks and Geeks,” on which he also served as a producer. Since then, Kasdan has continued to straddle both mediums, working as a director, writer and producer.
Kasdan’s feature film credits include Orange County, The TV Set, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Bad Teacher and Sex Tape.
Kasdan’s most recent feature film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, became a worldwide phenomenon, taking in over $962 million worldwide and becoming the most successful film domestically in the history of Columbia Pictures.
On the television side, Kasdan has directed the pilots for “Undeclared,” “New Girl,” “Ben and Kate,” and “The Grinder,” and served as an Executive Producer on the subsequent series. Additionally, Kasdan is an Executive Producer on the ABC series “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Speechless,” and “Bless This Mess.”
Originally from Baltimore, JEFF PINKNER (Co-Writer, Executive Producer) attended Northwestern University and Harvard Law School. He has co-written the screenplays for movies including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The 5th Wave, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Venom.
In television, Pinkner has been involved in several programs, among them he served as Showrunner on the ABC series “Alias” and the FOX series “Fringe,” was an executive producer on the ABC series “Lost” and co-created the CBS series, “Zoo.” He is currently the executive producer of “Limetown” starring Jessica Biel for Facebook Watch, “High Fidelity” for Hulu, starring Zoe Kravitz, and “Cowboy Bebop” starring John Cho, for Netflix.
Originally from Boston, SCOTT ROSENBERG (Co-Writer, Executive Producer) has written the screenplays for movies including Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Beautiful Girls, Con Air, Disturbing Behavior, and Gone in 60 Seconds. He co-wrote High Fideltiy, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Venom.
In television, Rosenberg co-created the ABC series “October Road,” “Life on Mars,” and “Happy Town; and the CBS series’ “Zoo”. He iscurrently the executive producer of “Limetown” starring Jessica Biel for Facebook Watch; “High Fidelity” for Hulu, starring Zoe Kravitz, and “Cowboy Bebop” starring John Cho, for Netflix. Rosenberg is currently writing a movie for Sony, another for Disney, as well as an adaptation of the Andrew Smith novel, Grasshopper Jungle for New Regency.
Since launching his own production company at Columbia Pictures, MATT TOLMACH (Producer) has produced some of the most successful movies in the studio’s history. Among them, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, directed by Jake Kasdan and starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, which earned nearly $1 billion globally. Last year, he produced the worldwide smash hit Venom, directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams. Venom has earned over $855 million theatrically. Tolmach is currently in post-production on Morbius, based on the Marvel comic, starring Jared Leto. In prep is Venom 2, once again starring Tom Hardy.
Tolmach became a producer in 2010 after serving as President of Columbia Pictures for many years. As a longtime studio executive at the legendary label, he oversaw some of the most successful films in Columbia Pictures history, including the Spider-Man franchise; worldwide hits The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons; Salt, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Zombieland, Step Brothers, 2012, Talladega Nights, Panic Room, The Grudge, and many others.
Tolmach is also executive producing the Hulu series “Future Man,” with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, starring Josh Hutcherson, which was recently renewed for its third and final season. He and Frank Marshall executive produced the documentary The Armstrong Lie as well as What Haunts Us, directed by Paige Tolmach, which was nominated last year for an Emmy Award.
DANY GARCIA (Producer) is a groundbreaking visionary, and the definition of a mogul: an entertainment magnate, founder, investor, producer, professional athlete, and philanthropist.
Garcia is the architect behind some of today’s most successful enterprises, brands, and talent. Her innovative, global approach to every professional and personal endeavor has contributed to her continued success. Her precise instincts within the ever-changing media landscape, paired with years of experience in the finance industry, have led to innovative and trusted business partnerships in a variety of verticals. Garcia’s passion for bettering the world through socially responsible decisions is consistently reflected in the culture of her teams and the businesses she builds.
Garcia is the founder, CEO, and Chairwoman of The Garcia Companies, and TGC Management. Through The Garcia Companies, a complex holding enterprise, Garcia employs one main philosophy throughout every facet of her business; to produce synergy amongst all endeavors in order to maximize success for each individual branch of business. The TGC portfolio is as extensive as it is diverse, and it includes overseeing various ventures in the entertainment and entrepreneurial spaces – TGC Management, Seven Bucks Productions, Seven Bucks Creative, Seven Bucks Digital Studios, Atom Tickets, and CAVA.
TGC Management is a global brand development and management company consisting of an elite team of seasoned management executives responsible for guiding strategy and building enterprises for some of the world’s most coveted names and brands. Through her immersive work within TGC Management, Garcia is the visionary behind the careers of Dwayne Johnson and Henry Cavill. TGC Management has built billion-dollar brands by taking risks and changing business models to adapt to the needs of its clients. Garcia and Johnson recently announced one of their most ambitious endeavors to date – the first-ever Athleticon, a live, immersive event experience celebrating the very best in athletics, wellness and entertainment, launching in October 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Garcia also serves as Co-Founder of Seven Bucks Productions, a multi-platform production company pioneering original content for television, film, emerging technologies, and digital networks. Crossing all entertainment verticals, Seven Bucks Productions creates innovative content rooted in authenticity, strong storytelling, and passion. Garcia looks beyond box office numbers and focuses on how a project can make an international impression, create conversation, and impact the social landscape as a whole. Most recently, fan-favorite Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw (Universal Pictures) set the record as the only 2019 title to lead the global box office for four weeks, racing past $700 million worldwide. Seven Bucks has an ever-expanding slate including tent-pole movies such as one of Sony’s highest-grossing films of all time, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Rampage (New Line Cinema), Skyscraper (Legendary Entertainment/Universal Pictures), Jungle Cruise (Walt Disney Pictures), Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Red Notice(Netflix), The King (Warner Bros.), John Henry and The Statesmen (Netflix), Black Adam (New Line Cinema), Shazam! (New Line Cinema) and Fighting with My Family (MGM). Other film credits include box-office hits such as Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious (Universal Pictures) and San Andreas (Warner Bros.). Seven Bucks Productions also produces original television programming, which include HBO’s most-watched half-hour series “Ballers,” HBO’s No. 1 stand-alone documentary special “Rock and a Hard Place,” NBC’s “The Titan Games,” BET’s “Finding Justice,” CNN’s “Soundtracks: Songs that Defined History” and Fuse’s “Clash of the Corps.” Highly anticipated upcoming television projects on the Seven Bucks slate include the Quibi series “Last Resort” and the Disney Plus docuseries “Behind the Attraction.”
In 2016, Garcia and her team launched their digital arm, Seven Bucks Digital Studios, which creates premium long and short-form content for digital platforms. In less than one year, Seven Bucks Digital Studios amassed over two-million subscribers making it one of the fastest growing channels in YouTube history. A year later, Seven Bucks Creative was launched, serving as the strategic and creative engine behind Seven Bucks and their portfolio of brands and projects. Whether it’s launching an original film, TV show, brand partnership, or new venture, this pioneering group is responsible for crafting big picture and disruptive brand purpose and positioning to drive growth with audiences globally.
Through The Garcia Companies, Garcia acts as an advocate for diversity in marketing through investments and executive contributions on behalf of Seven Bucks Productions and Seven Bucks Creative. She serves as an advisory board member for the social media ticketing app and website, Atom Tickets and Mediterranean culinary brand, CAVA.
Garcia’s passion and commitment to the entertainment industry is matched by her complete dedication and devotion to the sport of bodybuilding. She first competed in 2011 and went on to earn her IFBB Pro card in 2014. She was the first-ever Women’s Physique Division athlete to be signed to the Weider roster. Along with competing, Garcia and Johnson’s digital conglomerate, Seven Bucks Digital Studios has helped produce and promote bodybuilding’s most prestigious and premier competition, Mr. Olympia alongside AMI since 2016.
Balancing over 50 other projects in development while simultaneously managing a diverse portfolio of ventures, she continues to serve as a change agent and a multi-faceted trailblazer to women everywhere. Garcia earned a spot in the 2018 Variety500 and in Variety’s Power of Women Report in 2016 and 2018. In 2015, Garcia was selected by Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) as a guest panelist for their “Profiles on Champions” which brought together over 1,000 female media leaders for a motivational and empowering discussion on the many traits of successful athletes who have trained their bodies and minds for competitive high performance and challenging environments. Garcia brought her expertise as a driven athlete, female role model, and multimedia mogul to the powerful discussion Garcia founded The Beacon Experience, as part of the nationwide “I Have a Dream” foundation that encourages at-risk students to continue their educations beyond high school. In 2006, Garcia identified the kindergarten class from Colonial Drive Elementary in Miami and committed to providing the group of “Dreamers” with countless opportunities and resources to help them excel in school. Through the Beacon Experience, she empowered them throughout their lifelong education with weekly tutoring and scholarships for college. Further signifying her belief in the importance of education, Garcia continues to support her alma mater by serving on the University of Miami Board of Trustees and as President of the University of Miami Alumni Association.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Garcia moved to Florida where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Marketing and Finance from the University of Miami School of Business. Following graduation, Garcia took a job at Merrill Lynch, using the experiences there to increase her knowledge of financial tools, before founding her own private wealth management firm, JDM Partners LLC. Garcia continues to be an active angel investor, using her wealth of experience to identify and invest in groundbreaking entrepreneurs and business start-ups.
Garcia is a proud mom to 18-year-old daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson. Garcia and her husband, Dave Rienzi, split their time between Florida and Los Angeles.
HIRAM GARCIA (Producer) is the President of Production at Seven Bucks Productions and a film and television producer whose films have amassed over $5 billion in box-office revenue. A trusted collaborator in the production process to Seven Bucks co-founders, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, Garcia oversees all production operations from development to release. In addition to producing projects, Garcia ensures the team’s mission of creating inspirational and motivational content for a global audience is achieved.
Garcia has served or currently serves as a producer on Seven Bucks Productions’ tent-pole movies, including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal Pictures), Shazam! (New Line Cinema), Rampage (New Line Cinema), Skyscraper (Legendary Entertainment/Universal Pictures), Fighting with My Family (MGM), and upcoming films Jungle Cruise (Walt Disney Pictures), Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Red Notice (Netflix), The King (Warner Bros.), John Henry and The Statesmen (Netflix), and Black Adam (New Line Cinema). Other film credits include box-office hits such as Furious 7 (Universal Pictures), Central Intelligence (New Line Cinema), San Andreas (Warner Bros.), and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (New Line Cinema). Garcia has been instrumental in growing and producing Seven Bucks’ roster of television projects, which include HBO’s most-watched half-hour series “Ballers,” HBO’s no. 1 stand-alone documentary special “Rock and a Hard Place,” NBC’s “The Titan Games,” BET’s “Finding Justice,” CNN’s “Soundtracks: Songs that Defined History,” and Fuse’s “Clash of the Corps.” Prior to joining Seven Bucks Productions, Garcia served as consulting writer for WWE’s “The Rock” (2011-2013).
Beyond his immersive work in production, Garcia also likes to get behind his own camera and recently became an ambassador for legendary camera company Leica. He has always had a passion for photography and enjoys being able to capture resonant moments in unique ways. Garcia’s work has been featured in print and digital media and he opened his first gallery earlier this year, with many more projects in the works. Garcia was born and raised in New Jersey and is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music business and entertainment.
DAVID HOUSEHOLTER (Executive Producer) produced Bad Teacher as well as She’s Out of My League. He was an Executive Producer on the comedy hits Trainwreck, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Other Guys, Step Brothers, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. He recently finished up Venom and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, before beginning work on Jumanji: The Next Level.
Householter also co-produced Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Elf.
MELVIN MAR (Executive Producer) began his career at Dreamworks SKG, Scott Rudin Productions, where he built a solid relationship with Orange County director Jake Kasdan. They have since worked together on films including The TV Set, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Bad Teacher, Sex Tape, Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle and the hit television comedy “New Girl.” Besides serving as executive producer on “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Bless This Mess”, Mar served as an executive producer on “Weird Loners”, “The Grinder” and “Speechless”.
Mar and Kasdan have an overall deal at Twentieth Century Fox Television, where they are developing comedies and dramas for cable, streaming and network television.Mar lives in Los Angeles with his family.
In addition to his work on Jumanji: The Next Level, WILLIAM TEITLER (Executive Producer) recently directed and produced Judy Small, starring Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone.
His previous producing credits include Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Rob The Mob, What Maisie Knew, Zathura, The Polar Express, Tuck Everlasting, How To Deal, The Hurricane, Picture Perfect, Jumanji, Looking For Richard, and Mr. Holland’s Opus.
For television, Teitler’s producing credits include Taking Chance, Empire Falls, Tales From The Crypt, and Tales From The Darkside.
TED FIELD’s (Executive Producer) career is distinguished by over 35 years of success in the Entertainment Industry. Currently the Chairman and CEO of Radar Pictures, Field is one of the rare entertainment executives to have been successful in both music and film. Field has produced over 60 major theatrical motion pictures generating nearly $7 billion in worldwide revenue. He founded Interscope Communications to develop and produce films in 1984, and produced his first hit, Revenge of the Nerds, the same year. Field continued to produce a diverse library of films including Jumanji, Three Men and a Baby, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Runaway Bride and Cocktail.
In 1990, Mr. Field co-founded Interscope Records, arguably the most successful independent record label of its time. In an era in which rap music was criticized as a music genre, Interscope Records forever changed the music business and creative landscape when it formed an agreement to distribute music for Death Row Records with Dr. Dre. Interscope Records went on to sign such top-selling artists as Eminem, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Nine Inch Nails, The Wallflowers, No Doubt, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson and others.
Upon selling Interscope in 2001 Mr. Field devoted his creative energy to Radar Pictures, releasing such diverse hits as The Last Samurai and the Riddick franchise. Mr. Field continues to remain actively focused on film, television and music. With such films as Running with Lions, Fern Gully, and In Search Of Captain Zero in pre-production and development, Mr. Field has a vast array of projects on the horizon. Expanding on his success, Mr. Field has also created a television department where he has Wheel of Time in production with Amazon for a 2021 release and many more programs being developed including The Drowning, Progeny, Gang Leader for a Day and Magic Castle. Mr. Field also remains committed to music with new ventures being discussed in the music technology field.
MIKE WEBER (Executive Producer) is a film and television producer and partner at Radar Pictures. He has overseen the production and financing of over 20 feature films including the critically acclaimed Spring Breakers and most recently Beirut. After the success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Weber formed a new company with author Chris Van Allsburg that is currently in an overall deal with Fox/DISNEY developing the Van Allsburg library for film and television across all platforms.
Weber is currently overseeing the filming of Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” book series adaptation for Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios, for which he serves as executive producer.
GYULA PADOS, HSC, (Director of Photography) is the award-winning cinematographer behind Jake Kasdan’s fantasy adventure film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle for Sony starring Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, and Jack Black. He shot Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which was his second collaboration with director Wes Ball, as the two previously worked on Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
Pados has partnered with director Craig Gillespie for feature, television, and commercial projects, including Disney’s dramedy Million Dollar Arm starring Jon Hamm, the TV pilot Trooper, and commercials for the NFL and the game, Call of Duty. He has also enjoyed a successful partnership with director Nimród Antal on the action film, Metallica: Through the Never starring Dane DeHaan and the Predators sequel starring Adrien Brody and Topher Grace. They first collaborated on Antal’s foreign thriller Kontroll, which garnered international acclaim, winning several awards including Cannes Film Festival Award of the Youth, Brothers Manaki International Film Festival Silver Camera 300 award, Chicago International Film Festival gold Hugo Award, Hungarian Critics Award and Hungarian Film Week Award for Best Cinematography, and the Copenhagen International Film Festival award for Best Cinematography.
Pados was nominated for a Satellite Award for shooting The Duchess, directed by Saul Dibb, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes as well as won a Camerimage Festival Golden Frog Award for his work on Lajos Koltai’s Fateless. Apart from his feature work, he has also shot campaigns for high-profile brands such as Canon, Audi, and Porsche.
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